The Sunshine Coast Falcons afternoon kept their winning record intact with the scrappy 32-20 win over the Norths Devils at home in the Intrust Super Cup.
It was a slow burn for a Falcons side who returned this past week from a trip to PNG – but were bolstered by the inclusions of NRL-contracted players Sandor Earl and Joe Stimson who both made their presence known on the scoreboard.
Match: Falcons v Devils
Round 4 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
However, the match didn’t start well for the home side with Ryan Papenhuyzen kicking the ball out on the full from the kick-off.
The mistake gifted the Devils possession a mere 25 metres from the try line and the visitors were quick to convert the opportunity with Riley Leota diving over to score the first try in the second minute. A successful conversion put the Devils in front 6-0 with less than five minutes played.
Devils fullback Jack Ahearn was busy in attack in the early stages of the game, roaming freely from one side of the field to the other and proving a major handful for the Falcons defence.
He was heavily involved in the Devils second try as Connor Broadhurst put the ball down in the corner in the 10th minute. The kick was unsuccessful taking the score to 0-10.
The Devils seemed to out-enthuse the Falcons as the home side proved to be their own worst enemy with a number of incomplete sets and unforced errors.
The first points for the Falcons came from a set that began with a break from Jon Reuben and finished with Earl collecting a Cooper Johns kick to score in the corner.
Murphy missed a difficult conversion, taking the score to 4-10 with 22 minutes left in the first half.
But before the home side could gain any ascendency, the Devils were racking up more points as a wayward kick from Murphy resulted in a length-of-the-field effort from Broadhurst.
However, he was unable to convert his second try and the Devils extended their lead to 4-14.
There looked to be further trouble when an uncharacteristic loose pass from Murphy went to ground, but Harry Grant was quick to clean up the scraps diving over the line untouched to score the second try for the home side. Murphy converted to close the gap to 10-14.
The Falcons had two consecutive chances at more points in the closing stages of the first half, with one chance shut down due to a shepherd play and a try going begging following a knock on in the process of grounding the ball by Dane Hogan.
It was the visitors who wrapped up the half with points after Luke Pollock slotted a penalty kick and the visitors went to the sheds with the score 16-10 at the break.
The Falcons were the first team to score in the second half, after a switch up from Murphy took the ball to the other side of the field into the hands of rampaging Stimson who was too strong to stop so close to the line. Murphy successfully converted levelling the scores at 16-16 with a quarter of the match left to play.
The home side then followed that try with another six minutes later, after a superb effort by Earl to catch a cross-field kick then in the same motion a round-the-corner pass to put Justin Olam over in the corner for the first of his two tries.
Murphy converted, putting the Falcons in the lead for the first time in the match 22-16 with 18 minutes left.
There were more points to come when Johns found Olam who sped through a gap to nab his second try in the 64th minute.
Sam Burns scored the final try for the Falcons diving under the posts and handing Murphy a simple conversion to extend their lead to 32-16 with just under ten minutes to play.
Despite some impressive scramble the Devils were unable to claw their way back into the match and closed out the game with a late try to Brenden Frei.
Photo: File image of Justin Olam of the Sunshine Coast Falcons